This time last year I had no idea what this week meant. It will be just another week in March for everyone else out there except for the first time in my life this week will literally change my life. This is the week that I will find out where I will be spending the next three years of my life. It amazes me still how fast time has gone by. My white coat ceremony feels like just yesterday and when I look at pictures of myself from four years ago, I feel like I can barely recognize the person in those pictures. In just a week, I will be celebrating the other end of my medical school career which is Match Day.
For those who are unfamiliar with Match Day, this is the day that all fourth year medical students find out where they “matched” for Residency. The Match process is completely different from anything you have experienced previously. When you applied to college and medical schools, you received acceptances in the mail or email and based on those acceptances you received you were able to decide where you wanted to end up ultimately. The Match process is nothing like that at all. You only have so much control in that process. You interview at however many places and based on your thoughts and the interview you rank different places. You submit a rank list (numbered from #1 to however many places you interviewed) and then each program also submits a rank list in which they rank applicants. Both of these rank lists are ultimately put into a computer program that determines where you will go. Although you submit your own rank list and so does each program it is still a really weird feeling.
At the end of this week, on Friday March 18, I will be given an envelope with the name of the program that I will be attending. It feels like you do not have a choice because the envelope is given to you rather than you being the one to tell everyone which program you have decided on. It is madness. It is ridiculous. It is an unbearable waiting game. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. This is the system and so many before me have gone through it and so many after me will go through it. Just this year it makes all the difference because I will be the one waiting to open up my envelope.